Wacken heavy metal festival goes global after cancellation

Undaunted by the cancellation of the Wacken Open Air heavy metal festival brought on by the pandemic, millions of fans have participated in the so-called Wacken World Wide online, organizers said.

Wacken Open Air – which bills itself as the world’s largest outdoor festival of metal music – had had 11 million people view icons of the genre, including Sabaton, Heaven Shall Burn, Kreator, Blind Guardian, In Extremo, Haematom und Beyond The Black, over devices ranging from traditional television to tablets and smartphones, organizers said.

New technology had allowed Wacken’s famous “double stage” to be recreated, integrating the fans into the performances, they added.

Wacken World Wide Peer Camps, staged in the United States, Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Israel, Mexico and elsewhere in Germany, allowed metal fans to celebrate their own Wacken together.

Wacken co-founder Thomas Jensen described the virtual festival as “incredibly beautiful.” He added: “While the holy field was empty, we were able to feel and experience the energy and joy of the fans in front of their screens.”

In April, Wacken Open Air announced the cancellation of the concert, originally set for the end of last month after selling out 75,000 tickets.

Jensen said next year’s event was already in the planning. Dropkick Murphys, Judas Priest and 2006 Eurovision Song Contest winners Lordi are billed to play.

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